Kantar Media Newsroom: The Californization of America
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#StopMonsanto has been stopped…sort of
In the word of chasing hashtags, much of what I do is telling clients what is trending, what it means for their business and so on. Anything “Monsanto” has been linked to devilish operations for years – thanks to the controversial and often misconstrued GMO (genetically modified organism) operation they have, with seeds modified to withstand harsher pesticides and the like, while also allowing for higher yields and bigger crops. The problem with all of that is related to the farmers who feel pressured into purchasing Monsanto seed for fear of pesticides from Monsanto farms blowing over and ruining crops, and of course, all those horrid images of GMO-corn-fed-mice riddled with tumors, etc. Of course I’m oversimplifying, but this is a newsletter, so simplification is key! Bayer just dropped a huge chunk of change to acquire said work-of-the-devil company and made the decision to drop the Monsanto name altogether. What in the world will the hashtag mongers do now?! “While health and agricultural firm Bayer had been considering axing the Monsanto brand for some time, the decision to abandon the name was made official Monday. ‘Bayer will remain the company name,’ Bayer said in a statement. ‘Monsanto will no longer be a company name. The acquired products will retain their brand names and become part of the Bayer portfolio.’ The deal was set in motion in September 2016, when Bayer agreed to pay $66 billion for Monsanto amid a global shakeup fueled by sluggish crop prices. The agribusiness merger won conditional U.S. antitrust approval in May after the companies agreed to sell off $9 billion in assets to preserve competition.”
Who Will Deliver Cookies? Why Would Debbie Care? No, it’s Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference, and it’s going on this week. A new operating system, group FaceTime and MYOE (Make Your Own Emoji…I made that up) are some of the early releases, with more news set to be released as the week goes on. “Apple has one mission to accomplish: to regain the trust of its loyal fans, developers included. The company’s annual developer conference isn’t just when Apple reminds the public that it owns and operates the most lucrative and carefully curated mobile app store. It’s also the time of the year when Apple charts a path for the next 12 months of iOS and macOS.” It’s the admission from Apple that it purposely slowed down older iPhones, some speculate in an effort to get those customers to buy newer versions of their expensive phones. “As for faith in the quality of Apple software, it’s never been more important as the company shifts away from a business primarily propped up by iPhone sales to one revolving more around a software and services ecosystem. Apple is currently battling Amazon in the smart home, Spotify in the music streaming business, and both Microsoft and Google in the laptop market, not to mention its ongoing rivalry with Samsung in the phone market and Google over mobile OS market share.”
The Californization of America
It seems as though California is a reflection of the rest of the country – as they have been dealing with most of the hot-button issues taking center stage in both the most-recent presidential election as well as the mid-terms this year. “California, which holds its primaries on Tuesday, has long set the national agenda on the economy, culture and technology. So maybe it was just a matter of time before it got back to driving the political agenda, as it did when Ronald Reagan launched his political career in the 1960s. But other things are happening as well. The state is a hub for immigrants, a testing site for solutions to environmental crises and a front line in America’s competition with China. On all sorts of big issues that matter now and will in the future, California is already in the game.”
All eyes on Cali’s primaries today
“Democratic efforts to win a House majority in the midterms could hit a snag Tuesday in one of the country's most liberal states. In California, the party hopes to challenge about 10 GOP-held districts and pick up a good chunk of the 23 Republican seats it needs to win control of the chamber. But Democrats need to get past an obstacle in Tuesday's primaries: a system that sends the top two candidates, regardless of party, to November's general election. Strong Democratic candidate recruitment and voter enthusiasm fueled the party's hopes that it could compete in California House districts recently dominated by Republicans. However, the Democratic vote in some swing districts could get fragmented among multiple candidates, leaving the potential for two Republicans to advance.” It seems a perfect storm has approached the Golden State, with retirements and fragmented swing districts just looking to cook up drama this week.
Pardon me, Mr. President
There was a flurry of discussion last week regarding Trump’s pardon of conservative and Trump fan, Dinesh D’Souza, while also toying with the idea of pardoning Martha Stewart and commuting the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Both parties were affiliated with Trump and his Celebrity Apprentice franchise pre-presidency. If you thought that was enough hullabaloo, you were wrong, as this week started off with Trump stating he could ultimately “pardon himself” if it ever came to that. Not quite sure where to go with this, you say?! “’It’s hard not to see those three pardons as an intentional signal to those potentially implicated in the Mueller investigation that their wrongdoing will be excused,’ said Lisa Kern Griffin, a law professor at Duke University, referring to the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Griffin said there was a notable pattern in Trump’s decision to cleanse the records of people convicted of crimes related to ‘contempt for judicial authority, breaches of national security and campaign finance violations.’ It signaled, she and others said, a contempt for politically-motivated investigations.”
Mr. Crossfit goes to Washington
No, it’s not the long-awaited sequel to Jimmy Stewart’s beloved film, more like Greg Glassman, head of the intense fitness craze called CrossFit, attempting to go up against Big Soda. “His denunciation of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) are part of a very specific agenda: He is at war with America’s soda industry, which he accuses of corrupting the science around sugar while acting as an enemy to the general health of the country. The NSCA — which licenses physical trainers and is thus something of a competitor to CrossFit — was the starting point for his crusade, as well as its original target: The group publishes a journal that, several years ago, featured a study with a negative statistic about CrossFit injury rates; Glassman in turn discovered that the NSCA was partly funded by soda industry money. His indignation over this has now spiraled into a full-fledged war against Big Soda.” Ultimately his focus is on the money these Big Soda companies pay to fitness and health related organizations, and the tainted science that comes from them. This argument is not new, but in the age of increasing transparency, companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo should take note.
One More Thing
Staring at a clock for the sake of science
About a dozen scientists took it upon themselves to help prove (or disprove) one of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, seemingly showing that physics has stayed the same for the 14 years of their study – since the inception of this “clock-watching experiment” in 1999. A whopping 4.5 billion seconds. “In a paper published in Nature Physics on Monday, Patla’s team reveal a profound result from an exceedingly monotonous experiment. The ticking of the clocks, Patla says, actually illustrates one of the most fundamental principles in the laws of physics: that no time or place in the universe is special. It’s one of the basic ideas in Einstein’s theory of general relativity, a set of rules that correctly describes how the planets orbit the sun and how neutron stars collide to produce gravitational waves. The laws of physics apply in the same way today as they did 4.5 billion years ago when the moon formed, or in 2000 when you were listening to Creed.” Just think, while you’re staring at the clock, waiting for the lunch bell or quitting time, it’s the same clock, same time and same measure as it has always been. Forever, tick-tocking away. Obvious – yes. Groundbreaking – well, I’m a marketer, so I won’t be impressed with this study until it has a viral hashtag. Food for thought, though, “If they’d found the magnetic interaction changed from day to day, it would have upended current physics theory.” So there’s that.
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Who's on Top? May 21-27, 2018
Macy's heads into Memorial Day with new summer ads
Ad spend on national TV during took a tumble during the week of May 21st, dropping 33% compared to the previous week, reaching a total of only $92 million. Overall national TV spend also fell topping out at $720 million, a decrease of 20% week over week.
With Memorial Day weekend marking the unofficial start to summer, Macy’s spent one third of its new ad budget for the week on an imaginative ad showing drab winter wardrobes transitioning to colorful, summer-friendly attire as a person steps into the sun. The remaining 70% of Macy’s new ad budget was spent on ads mentioning its holiday sales on summer apparel, outdoor furniture and travel accessories.
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